Thursday, August 29, 2013

Best and Worst

"I have seen the best of you, and the worst of you, and I choose both." How we as humans long to hear another human say that to us! How we long for deep, meaningful relationships, for intimacy, for love. How we ache to be known fully and still accepted, to be truly vulnerable before another and still embraced. To be unconditionally loved.

What a gift it is be loved this way. How rare and uncommon, yet beautiful. 

Unconditional love is not loving someone in spite of their flaws, mistakes, and imperfections, it's loving them in view of those flaws, mistakes, and imperfections. It's not ignoring their weaknesses and just loving their strengths, but choosing to love them- strengths, weaknesses, and all. 

Unconditional love is a choice we must make as we see the light and the dark in people. It's a choice that requires us to face the darkness inside ourselves. Because really, when we see others' imperfections we are often reminded of our own. So it's easier to sweep those flaws under the rug and just keep on loving that person, pretending that whatever we've just discovered about them doesn't exist.

But that's not really loving them. That's only loving a portion of them, a version of them that doesn't line up with reality. Truly loving someone involves acknowledging their imperfections, their flaws, their weaknesses and mistakes and saying "I see you as you truly are, and I still love you. I know what you've done, but that doesn't change my love for you. I want you in my life and I want to walk this path with you." 

Even as I write this I know it sounds impossible. I am overwhelmed by this kind of love we are called to show to our brothers and sisters. I wonder how I could ever get to a point where I am not constantly trying to self-protect, or numb out my own darkness, or live in a fantasy world where people don't hurt me. But I know it is possible. But not by my own strength. Not through my own energy that I conjure up.

This kind of love- this unconditional love for people in view of their imperfections and flaws is possible because God showed us this same love. He showed us His never stopping, never giving up, unbreaking, always and forever love by sending Jesus. And Jesus showed us this unconditional love that while we were still shaking our angry, entitled fists at God He chose to switch places with us and die, crushed by the weight of our sins, while we are given a new life, if we choose to believe.

And as we follow Jesus, we are called to this same love... this never stopping, never giving up, unbreaking, always and forever love. This love that loves in view of others' imperfections, not just in spite of.

1 John 3:16 
This is how we know what love is: Jesus Christ laid down his life for us. And we ought to lay down our lives for our brothers.

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